Review of The Cinema Travellers at the 2017 Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) #mysff

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Review by Marijke

India is the back drop for the movie The Cinema Travellers, with English sub titles.

Two travelling cinema groups (one more travelling than the other) and a single projector repairman are followed to show how they are trying to keep the old reel cinema alive in India amidst all odds.

One group travels from carnival to carnival where they set up a tent to show old movies using a reel to reel method with an old decrepit projector that has seen much better days and keeps breaking down.  Yet the owner wants to maintain the old style of showing movies, where groups of people can get out of their homes and come together in a tent to see a movie.

The other group has a broken down van which is used as a projection room and mainly goes only to one town each year, along with an equally broken down projector.

Interspersed is an old man who has made it is life’s work repairing old projectors ad along the way has invented a new type of projector that he still has visions of having a multitude of cinemas buy from him.

Both of the travelling groups, finally realize that the day of reel to reel movies has long since past and have resigned themselves to the fact that they need to get into the digital age with new computer equipment.  One group being more successful than the other.  Which one is that ?  And what does the other do ?  Neither want the old way of seeing movies to die.

During the whole movie the audience is taken into the world of these two groups and feels their pain at what they see as a changing world that they are not yet really ready to embrace.
It is therefore a surprise twist in the end with all three that the audience is left seeing as the end of the movie plays out.

A well shot film which draws the audience in to the nostalgia of those who try to keep the good old days alive.  A film definitely worth watching.

Click to download 2017 Sarasota Film Festival Official Guide (14 MB)

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Once a year, a parade of traveling tent cinemas bring the wonder of movies to faraway villages in India, but after more than seven decades, this film-exhibition nears extinction. As their cinema projectors collapse and film reels become scarce, viewers are lost to the allure of digital technology. Following two traveling cinemas, we are given an intimate look into the lives of the men who run the exhibitions in their frantic attempt to keep a tradition alive in the midst of a changing medium and dwindling audience.

Section:    Documentary Competition
Genre:    Documentary
Category:    Documentary Feature
Internal Film Info
Internal Category:    Documentary Feature
Release Year:    2016
Runtime:    96 minutes
Type of Film:    Documentary Feature
Production Country:    India
Original Language:    Hindi
Subtitles:    Yes
Cast/Crew Info
Director:    Shirley Abraham
Amit Madheshiya
Produced By:    Shirley Abraham
Amit Madheshiya
Cinematography:    Amit Madheshiya
Editing By:    Shirley Abraham
Amit Madheshiya

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